January 6, 2014

On Staying Inspired

Watercolor | grownupshoes.com

(photo from my Instagram)

I was telling a friend the other day that I’m getting a little burnt out on mining the internet for creative inspiration. Don’t get me wrong—I can still spend hours pouring over beautiful images and inspiring quotes, but I’ve noticed that more and more of the work I see out there feels so similar now. I’ll see a gorgeous branding job and then a month later three more that feel extremely similar pop up in my online wanderings.

As a designer, it’s really hard to avoid, especially when it’s protocol these days to have a Pinterest board with a client that often contains other designer’s branding on the board. If that’s what the client wants, how do you put your own fresh spin on it? I strongly believe in looking to other great design work to get excited about a new project of your own, but I also wonder at what point that becomes more detrimental and less helpful to the creative process.

For the new blog layout, I knew I wanted a watercolor texture. I typically buy textures on iStock but I wanted to try my hand at my own. I’ve never been much of an artist so I wasn’t sure how this would go, but it was so fun to buy this beautiful tiny tube of perfect rose watercolor and make the color and texture that I wanted, pictured above.  How much more gratifying than buying someone else’s that a bunch of other people already use.

Somehow this image started popping up on my Pinterest feed a few weeks ago with no link or credit back to my instagram. Even though the broken link was frustrating, I still sort of lit up inside when I saw something that I made on people’s boards. It reminded me to keep doing my own thing, keep seeking inspiration outside of my MacBook screen, and to remember it’s not all about the traffic, the hits the insistence on getting all of those Pinners back to my blog. Sometimes, simply making something beautiful and sharing it with others is enough.

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  1. Comment by Molly Porter — January 6, 2014 @ 3:23 pm

    Great post! I find that the projects I like the least are the ones where I was trying to mimic someone else’s style or was taking too much direction from clients. Basically not being myself. I have to constantly remind myself to be myself. It’s much more fun and rewarding that way!


    Ana Perkins Reply:

    Haha totally agree. Sometimes it’s tougher at first, but always pays off in the end!


  2. Comment by Patti — January 11, 2014 @ 12:13 pm

    So glad you shared! I have felt this way a bit lately about inspiration and the same thing has happened to me. I have seem my artwork on pinterest with some sort of filter and frame around it and noticed it was instagrammed with no credit. Very frustrating but I think you have the right attitude about what is more important, being noticed for your work and the traffic or what is most important inspiring people and having your work and talents seen by as many people as possible preferably with credit haha! Look forward to seeing the new watercolor site updates. xx -Patti


    Ana Perkins Reply:

    Thank you Patti! Just checked out your website—it’s darling!! So appreciate your encouraging words here:) thanks for this!


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  4. Comment by Stacie Standifer — January 12, 2014 @ 3:56 pm

    This is absolutely fantastic. Such a creative approach and lovely end result!


    Ana Perkins Reply:

    Thanks Stacie!


  5. Comment by Kate — January 12, 2014 @ 6:23 pm

    It’s so hard when everything starts looking the same! Sometimes I think there’s some sort of design-o-meter with notches for different styles, but we’re still all on the same, set range. I know I put a ton of pressure on myself to be making something “new” that doesn’t feel derivative (though Megan Gilger made a good point at Designer Vaca, that in the small details there’s uniqueness). And by the way, you should keep up the watercolor! It’s my fave medium–happy to share tips if you need ;)


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